On paper, Greece’s ambitious project to have the new Acropolis Museum built in time for the 2004 Olympics took a step forward yesterday with the signing of a contract for the final study for the 50-billion-drachma building. Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the time schedule was slightly optimistic but realistic. The museum – where Greece hopes to display the Elgin Collection of sculptures from the Acropolis, if the British Museum ever gives it back – will be built according to plans by US-Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi and Greece’s Michalis Fotiadis. The government says construction will start in June. The project was initially awarded to Italy’s Manfredi Nicoletti and Lucio Passarelli in 1989, only to be canceled in 1999 due to ancient finds on the proposed site beside the old Makriyianni gendarmerie barracks.